Colin Kroner pitched a two-hitter and Bulldogs Baseball Academy rapped out 12 hits on the way to a 10-2 victory over Sandlot Baseball Academy in the 13U Summer Classic championship game last night at Diamond Nation in Flemington.
The victory for the red hot Bulldogs, fresh off a trip to a Ripken event in Florida, was their 14th straight. Much of the Bulldogs squad has been together since their 9U season and it shows.
Kroner worked quickly and efficiently with his fastball and curveball, striking out four, walking three and hitting a batter over six innings of work. His defense turned three double plays behind him and the Bulldogs’ bats weren’t just supportive but lethal, registering seven extra-base hits — six of them triples — among their 12 hits.
“Colin started slow but he got it together,” said Bulldogs coach Justin Moore. “They couldn’t square him up after the first inning. He’s not the hardest thrower but he hits his spots. He’s our big game pitcher. He’s a professional pitcher out there.”
Sandlot Baseball, 4-1 in the tournament, reached Kroner for two runs in the top of the first inning after two were out. Jordan Andino triggered the rally with an infield single. He took second on a wild pitch and scored easily when Nick Mills rocked a double into the left-center field gap. Kroner appeared out of further trouble when Connor Thomas lifted a fly ball to center field, but the ball was misplayed into three bases for a second Sandlot run.
But Kroner took matters into his own hands, striking out the next batter looking and never really faced a threat the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ bats would fire up in the second inning, striking for three runs, keyed by back-to-back one-out triples by Jared Matejicka and Brayden Heatter. Caden Glauber singled home Heatter and Glauber would eventually score on the back end of a double steal with Kroner. Kroner had singled with two outs to keep the rally alive.
“This team hit 81 home runs as 12 year-olds last year,” said Moore. “They are a really good hitting team.” Those home runs, apparently, are now triples.
The Bulldogs carried that 3-2 advantage into the home fourth and went about giving Kroner some breathing room. Jared Matejicka drew a one-out walk and stole second with Heatter at the plate. Heatter, whose triple in the second had split the right-center field gap, shot one inside first base this time and the laser went all the way to the wall for his second triple and second RBI of the game. Heatter (2-for-3, 3 RBI, 2 runs) scored moments later on a wild pitch to lift the Bulldogs’ lead to 5-2.
The Bulldogs would use the triple again as it’s mode of production in the fifth after No. 11 hitter Daniel Hennessy drew a two-out walk. Leadoff hitter Jayden Matejicka, who would be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, sent a shot into left-center for three bases and a 6-2 lead. Jake Clayton followed with a shot to the same spot for an RBI triple. It was the second time in the game the Bulldogs ripped back-to-back triples. Clayton, who had also tripled in the third inning, scored on a wild pitch to boost the lead to 8-2.
Kroner was churning at that point, having faced just two batters over the minimum since the first inning while shutting out Sandlot Baseball on no hits over the five innings.
“He hits his spots and does a nice job mixing in his curveball,” said Moore. “He’s a confident pitcher.”
Kroner’s pitching gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to end the game via the eight-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth.
Jared Matejicka led off the sixth with the Bulldogs seventh extra-base hit, a double down the third base line. He stole third and scored on Heatter’s fielder’s choice bouncer to the left side. Glauber then stole second base to put himself in scoring position with the potential winning run.
Appropriately, it was Kroner (2-for-3, RBI) who came to bat with two outs. The righthander saved his arm another inning of work by slashing a single inside third base that scored Glauber from second. There was a play at the plate but Glauber jarred the ball loose on his slide to end the game.
NOTES: Jayden Matejicka flashed some stunning leather at second base in the fifth inning. Sandlot Baseball’s Caden Lenzi ripped a line drive to Matejicka’s left. Matejicka dove flat out to snare the liner and fired to first base to double off the runner. … The Bulldogs (4-0) outscored their Mid-Summer Classic opponents 42-9. Sandlot Baseball outscored their opponents 46-26.
Recaps from the week.
16U MID-SUMMER CLASSIC
New Jersey Nationals
The New Jersey Nationals (3-0) topped the stands of the 16U Mid-Summer Classic. There was no playoff.
3UP3DOWN Baseball defeated The North Jersey Cardinals, 6-5, in the 9U Mid-Summer Classic championship game. Carter Huggard ofd 3UP3DOWN was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. 3UP3DOWN outscored its opponents 25-6. The North Jersey Cardinals (1-1) held a 23-8 runs advantage on their opponents.
Diamond Jacks 10U
The Diamond Jacks 10U defeated Canes Baseball Pa., 10-4, in the 10U Mid-Summer Classic championship game. Fenton Morrissey of the Diamond Jacks was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The Diamond Jacks (4-0) outscored their opponents 38-13. Canes Baseball (3-1) held a 51-21 runs advantage on its opponents.
Sandlot Baseball Academy
Sandlot Baseball Academy defeated the Diamond Jacks Super 12U, 8-3, in the 12U Mid-Summer Classic championship game. Sandlot Baseball Academy (4-0) outscored its opponents 56-3. The Diamond Jacks (3-1) held a 39-13 runs advantage on its opponents.